Imagine spending day after day submitting online job applications only to receive rejection email after rejection email, or worse, no response at all. Unfortunately, I see this way too often. Endless hours of effort and mountains of rejections can lead to despair, doubt and even hopelessness.
But, the problem is often not with the applicant, but with the way he or she approaches the job search.
Here’s a subtle but important fact to consider; most job hires are made without the position even being announced. If a job opening is advertised, it’s often despite the fact that the hiring manager already has a specific candidate in mind.
In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Duncan Mathison, co-author of “Unlock the Hidden Job Market,” estimates that 50% of job positions are currently filled on an informal basis.
Howard Poplinger, owner of human-resource company Epic Development and Evaluation, puts the number even higher, suggesting that over 80% of today’s job openings aren’t even advertised.
It makes sense, a manager looking for a new employee is more likely to take advantage of her close network of co-workers and colleagues when searching for suggestions of people who can fulfill the position. She may even consult her peers in similar positions at other companies or her alumni networks to seek out qualified candidates. The power of personal referrals she can trust beats announcing the position to millions of job-seekers combing job search sites.
So what does this mean for the typical job applicant? Instead of spending valuable time endlessly submitting low-yield online applications, they should spend just as much time and energy networking.
Yes, you’ve probably heard it all before, but what does networking really mean? Here it is plain and simple. It involves getting your name, qualifications, and the position you’re seeking out to as many people who know and like you as possible.
These people will become your job search army. They are the ones who might be in a position to mention your name the next time someone asks about fulfilling a job position. Most importantly, there should be no shame to your game. Your goal is to let as many people as possible know about your job search.
Job recruiters claim one of the most important, but most overlooked steps, in achieving this goal is the crafting of a networking letter. This letter mentions your qualifications, skills, and the type of job you’re interested in applying for. Send it to as many people you know including family, friends, colleagues, former classmates, and alumni associations, as well as to people you’ve met through volunteer organizations, civic groups, and at church.
Take a look here to see how one man used such networking letter in his job search.
Next, make sure to network with people already in the field.
Let me give you an example:
A relative, frustrated with repeated online job application rejections, decided to join the professional association of the field he was seeking a job. In his case it was the International Right of Way Association (right of way agents negotiate compensation for individuals who allow utility companies to use their land).
Immediately, he received the organization’s journal which was chock full of job offerings not listed on typical internet job search websites. More importantly, he was able to attend a regional conference where he met a director of a company looking for new hires. The introduction led to a series of high profile job leads and interviews.
Today networking is king. Use it effectively and you’ll supercharge your job search. Stay at home endlessly pounding out online job applications and you may remain frustrated and jobless.
BMWK — What are some of the tips you have to share for people looking for a job in 2013?